Please note: The following is an AI-generated transcript that has not been spell-checked. Misspellings are not intentional but are to be expected; please excuse them. To watch a video of this session, please find the link below. Thank you.
Hello, and welcome to the high reliability podcast. I’m your host Peter Martin, the president of Goslin, Martin associates. As always, thank you for clicking on this podcast. I appreciate that. I know there are many options out there. So thanks for listening. Today’s episode is an episode that was originally done on the healthcare facilities network. I have joining the microphones, John Babban. John is a regional director of facilities in Louisiana. John also has under his purview, a critical access hospital. And that’s part of the reason I want to have John on so we discussed some of those issues. As I said, this is excerpted from our healthcare facilities Network YouTube channel. I imagine most of you listening, you’ve probably you’re probably aware of our healthcare facilities network on YouTube. If you’re not, I would encourage you to check it out. Jack and I started up the healthcare facilities network earlier this year in April. So if you go to YouTube and search healthcare facilities network, you’ll find it. We recently placed our 100th episode on that channel, which is really hard to believe. So for those of you who have appeared on the healthcare facilities network, the high reliability podcast, I appreciate that it could not have been done without you. The goal of the healthcare facilities network is to reach all from the intern in college, the high school student all the way up to the retiree to promote that the opportunity and healthcare facilities management exists. We talked about it enough. I don’t need to bore you here yet again. But there’s an issue getting people into health care facilities management, we’re trying to increase the visibility, you got to be much more much more proactive, to let people know that this career exists. So anyways, this particular episode with John, it was on the health care facilities network. So if you haven’t checked it out, I would encourage you to, if you just want to listen on the high reliability, reliability, easy for you to say on the high reliability Podcast Network. Well, we appreciate that as well. So with that brief intro, I am going to send it over to me on the healthcare facilities network. But as always, thank you for listening to the high reliability podcast. Hello, and welcome to the health care facilities network. I am Peter Martin, president of gospel Martin associates. Thank you so much for clicking on this video today. And I am happy to introduce my guest, John Babban. John is the Director of Facilities Management for Ochsner health Bayou region down in Louisiana. John was kind enough, we do a we do a monthly summary that we send out with with shows that are in on the healthcare facilities. Now, it’s kind of a, a review of the month and one of the requests I made put a little bit of a paragraph and I asked people if you are from a community based hospital for a critical access hospital, if you have, you know, if you work in one of those hospitals to please reach out to me. Because I want to make sure that on this network. We’re covering the full range. There are about 6129 hospitals in the United States of America. We talked to people who are some of the bigger hospitals. But there’s I think I looked this morning, John, I think they said there’s 1381 critical access hospitals in America. So, you know, we want to make sure that we are capturing the experiences of everybody who works in healthcare because it’s it’s a pretty dynamic. It’s a pretty dynamic field. John was kind enough to reach out to me actually spoke with John last year right on our survey that we did for 2022 healthcare facilities management. So John was kind enough to reach out. We scheduled this So John, thank you. I appreciate that. Good morning. Good morning, John. Tell us. So you are director of FM for the bayou region, what encompasses the bayou region? What is your scope of responsibility and accountability?
Well, there are currently three hospitals in the bayou region, as of course, we are part of a larger health system option hill with many hospitals and clinics as well. But in the body region itself, we have three hospitals. And St. Anne, which is where originated at is our critical access hospital.
Okay. So you’ve been with Aashna for about 20 years now, John, is that
I’ve been at St. Anne here for 20 plus years and Ochsner took over operation at St. Anne in 2006. Okay, you know, Oxnard Hills since 2006. Prior to that, we were a community based hospital support by our parish millage.
Oh, wow. Okay. So that were, by the way, John, where is saying in?
St. Anna is in Raceland? Louisiana, we are approximately 60 miles southeast. Southwestern, no, sorry.
Okay. So 60 miles southwest of New Orleans? Yes. How close to the Gulf area?
Ah, about 60 miles one way, probably a little bit less the other way.
Okay. Okay. So 60 miles southwest? How was the end? I know it was a while ago now. But how was it the transition from St. Anne’s into a into a larger system?
Well, I guess for the employees, in a sense, it was somewhat of a culture shock, because we were, of course, like family and small community and very much culture of togetherness and familiarity. So being a part of a large system, in a sense, was a culture shock. And it was a little fear at first, from, you know, our employees as how it would affect, you know, our relationships, and not only amongst ourselves, but as also with the community. And, you know, just about in every aspect has been a positive, extremely positive in a financial aspect, because our budgets, specifically in the non patient related stuff was really limited. So clinical side really received most of the funding our option. And our capital budget was some times the allocation was confiscated by the clinical side. It was a challenge, but it actually made us really good mechanics because we had to rely on you know, ingenuity and a lot of sense and some time, sometimes we have some really good band aids.
I love that phrase confiscated by the clinical side. It’s funny, because like that, you would use words different different images come into your, to your mind, and kind of confiscated, you know, I don’t see see them sitting around that conference table with you guys and just up. You don’t need you know, you don’t need a pm on your boiler or you don’t need that. Well, let us let us take that. Alright. So actually the for, for folks who, who aren’t, who don’t know what how critical access hospitals are designated to CMS dedication designation, excuse me, as I said, as of April 2023, there’s 1361 critical access hospitals in the United States out of 6129 total. To be a critical access hospital. You need to have the following designations 25 or fewer acute care beds inpatient beds, excuse me, 25 or fewer acute care inpatient beds, be located more than 35 miles from another hospital. They do say that exceptions may apply. Maintain annual average length of stay of 96 hours or less for acute care patients and provide 24/7 emergency care services. John, are you guys more than 35 miles from another hospital?
Pretty much, pretty much. There’s there’s another hospital in a neighboring city, Oklahoma. And there is one that was wiped out by Ida, which is closer to close here in the bush parish, which where St. Anne is okay. Yeah, I mean, there’s some in the area. But I guess strategically to the Gulf, and I think that was the main reason why we were able to get the critical access designation is because of the access from the Gulf of Mexico, the oil industry, which we are rely heavily upon and our communities
are really awesome. So the so your hospital is would be a go to for the folks work in the Gulf, if in situations.
It all depends. But we don’t have that level, that level of critical care here that would, you know, facilitate someone that would be in that, you know, degree of a critical care. But we do we do get some you know, patients still hear it at times, but I think mainly in the event that there’s a storm in golf nearby, we would be probably because of the because of not only access but because of we are actually on a levee system, where there’s a bayou that passes nearby, right in front of our hospital at one time was a tributary of the Mississippi River saw land is built up here. And so the hospital is above sea level. Yeah, in the hospitals or not. So I think that may have been part of the reason why we were able to get the vertical axis designation.
How far above sea level? Are you?
Wow. So it’s, you know, you visualize your geography down there, you’re below sea level above, above sea level, it’s, it’s such an interesting area. So you so how far away from the hospital is that tributary, that Bayou? How far away is it
right, right in front of actually, the highway passes in front of the hospital campus. And right on the other side of that highway is is actually is called by you live foods, which at one time was a tributary of the Mississippi. And so it’s supplies or freshwater source throughout three parishes here. So the food’s terrible, and and, I believe, Assumption Parish. And so there’s water, the bayou is dammed off at the Mississippi, but there’s pumping stations there that can keep it flowing, you know, so we have adequate supply of fresh water.
So water, it’s really interesting. What are I mean, obviously, there’s the big challenge, during our case, have a Bible are there what are some of the challenges of having a bayou located so close to your hospital?
Actually, it’s not a challenge for us. It’s actually a benefit. We have add the bayou right here on the levee next year, or adjacent to the highway in the hospital, there’s a there’s a device that the fire department will use to connect to a fresh water source in the event that there’s a knee, big fire in the area, they can hook up and actually suck water out of the bar, you enter the trucks. So you know, it does provide some benefit,
relative to populate relative to the population around your hospital or in the area, how many people are located in the area, how many residents
in an nearby area, it’s probably around 20, between 20 and 30,000 people in this area because the highway that ran through Raceland, of course, you see this in small cities as well. The main highway, which was highway 90 was traveled from New Orleans, out west towards Lafayette. And at one time, it really, really highly traveled through Raceland Well, there’s a bypass and so a lot of the industrial traffic was bypass around Raceland. So that community sort of died out. And so we see in a surgeons, surgeon and population closer to the hospital and actually further south here and Matthews lapboard area. And hurricane Ida has caused a lot of a lot of people to move on, in a sense forced to move from the south in the, you know, areas that are closer to the Gulf because of the tidal surge. So we’re seeing a really surge in population in our area. Because our you know, we are above sea level here. And as there’s a lot of area here, you know, here near the hospital that is above sea level. And that’s due to the you know, the box to the from the Mississippi River.
Okay, so are there locations in your vicinity that are more than 11 feet above sea level?
There is within within about 17 miles from here in the city of Tibideaux is pretty high. I’m not sure what the elevation is, but is somewhat higher than here.
Is 11 considered high above for doubt for down in your region? And I’d imagine Yeah.
Yes, I think it is. We’ve never seen flooding here. I guess if we did have a catastrophe on along the Mississippi River where the levee would fail. And, you know, potentially we could have some issues but all in all, to my knowledge in my parents knowledge and as a historical record, that’s never been a tidal surge that’s, you know, encompass this area particularly. Yep.
So in 2020 it was 2021 Correct. Hurricane Ida. So what was that? What was what were the impacts for you down with with IDA?
Well, we were actually Ground Zero. i The hurricane came over us here to the house hospitals in our in our value region were impacted dramatically, we had some not catastrophic failure, but we did have, you know, some Roof roofing that was compromised, we lost the, the roof on the penthouse portion of that ruptured the roof and in in surgery or area so we did take on a lot of water in there. And we lost a HEPA fan on the fourth floor that fell down and busted the roof and in labor and delivery. Oh, we were scrambling to try to you know, contain the water and, you know, in in the midst of the storm. But we typically when a hurricane is nearby or threatening nearby, we like to go on generator power prior to losing power just to avoid any spikes or surges or multiple, you know, failures that we get on on generator we like to get on generator just prior to that. And so we have some stability and power and we want generator for $300
Okay, well so when the I passed overhead was was it still a clear i By the time it got to you or it started a little bit? It was
actually I actually got on a golf cart and kind of did around the campus and around our clinics here and did take some video footage and we did have some more damage after the storm after the I pass so yeah, it’s it’s really strange and and kind of surreal when you you go through this unbelievable weather event and then all of a sudden you get you know, on a ray of sunshine and Gulf Breeze blowing and you you go outside and think man it’s Thank God it’s over. And then you know, yeah, I’m to shortly after and yeah, it’s it’s it’s crazy.
That’s you know the word you use surreal. I was gonna say that to you. It must be surreal. You know, it’s one of those. So you go through all that nasty, heavy weather. You get to the eye, and you kind of know you’re gonna get slapped again on the back end. So imagine that your caddy, I want to stay in it. But let’s just get it over with and because I know it’s got to come through and and hit us again.
Yes, exactly. Sometimes the the back part is worse. Yeah. Fortunately, it wasn’t as bad. I don’t think so. Anyway, we did sustain some other damage, you know, once the I pass, but the main part of the damage was at the beginning.
And so you’re on generator power for 300 hours. You said what was the How long did it take you guys to get back up and
back up? Well, we were shut down. The hospital had to shut down. So we moved out patients to the hospital in the in the system that wasn’t damaged. Some of the staffing and a few patients that we had remaining at the hospital were transferred to the to our sister hospital. We did have FEMA and come out in the front and set up a makeshift hospital and so they were able to triage some patients in the area. The hospital that’s further down to the Gulf, they had a catastrophic failure. They lost everything. So their entire roof blew off in at the very beginning of the storm. So they were they were in a bad situation and they still haven’t rebuilt they somewhat in the process of rebuilding another facility. But right now there’s kind of like a free standing your and clinic clinic service. So they still have business.
Gosh, two years. Just about two years later that was around this wasn’t at the fall of
21. Yes, actually, it was August 29.
August I forget those things. I have this had this
massive maple. I’m not maple Magnolia leaf. That blew in my office and my office is on on the ground floor. He outside the building in a metal building. And so we had debris and various leaves and limbs everywhere. So I picked up one of these leaves and I wrote the date on it. I wrote the date was 829 21 and I have it posted on my wall right here as a reminder, a stark reminder it definitely was a unnerving event. I mean it was it was I think a lot of the guys here. You know hope that we never have to do that again. Yeah, it’s really scary and we we will we will wide open for about a week. He really lost potable water as well. And we had to bring tanks in. And we actually, we had a security guard here who was a member of the local fire department. And our fire department here is a volunteer department, but they really on top of the game, and so really gung ho. And shortly after the storm, we lost water. And so he’s on the radio and talking to the fire department here. And we were trying to, you know, come up with an idea what to do to get our course we lost chillers because our cooling tower didn’t have any water supply. So in talking to him, he said, Man, you need water. He said, we can get a fire truck out here and pump water in your tower. Is that Is that always gonna take the definition back on I said for a little while. It’s not a problem. He gets on the radio in calls the fire department. So we had a, we had a chain of fire trucks come out and fill up our tower. So we can keep our chiller going until we can get a pump and get tanks, you know, water tanks here. So it was a an event that brought everyone together. And it just Yeah, it’s unprecedented for us. And hopefully, it never happens again. But yeah, we definitely a learning experience.
And did the did the fire the did the water last until you were able to get back up online? Yes. Yeah. This is Peter Martin. If you or your organization is interested in advertising or partnering with the healthcare facilities network, including sponsoring content, then please email me using the bar code in the lower right of your screen. From the trades level to the vice president level from planning, design, construction, project management, compliance, safety and security. The healthcare facilities network reaches FM people were FMP. Do I wanted to ask you, John, one of the things working you in a critical access hospital, you know, smaller community based hospitals? Is there a different vibe that that you that you have in those type of hospitals is a different environment different vibe different feel than at other larger acute care hospitals?
I don’t think so, I think that the the original staff that was here prior to auction are taken over. And in a sense, there is some because we know, you know, we have you know, memories of how it was before you became part of a big system. And then we shortly before that, becoming part of the options system, we became a critical access hospital. And so, I mean, just the camaraderie and the family type atmosphere here. I guess that’s about the only difference that really sets us apart from the other two hospitals which are much larger and one of the hospitals in our system is a state state owned facility that we have an agreement to operate that hospital. And the other one is a similar arrangement as in our neighboring parish, St. Mary Parish. They are supported by a millage as well. Yeah, option is option has been really good to South Louisiana and in our community hospitals and has drastically improved the service to our community and healthcare.
Oh, from a square footage perspective, Jen, how big is St. Anne’s?
St. Anne is just 110,000 square feet.
Okay. Okay. And are you at the 2525 bed designation?
We have 35 beds, because we have 10 and b Hu three in ICU and the rest and med surg and labor and delivery
so you’re also the director of two other hospitals in that region?
Well, right now to because prior to it I was at the VA hospital in Houma, which is called chaverim Medical Center and an ST and then when the hurricane came my my supervisor elected to stay there and direct me to stay here and because we both had such you know, significant damage it stayed that way for you know, pretty much until very recently where they they let me have the other hospital as well. So you know, sort of connected but not directly responsible for the three but directly responsible for to now
Okay, okay. So is there you What do you enjoy working critical access hospital, what are what are some of the Are there any differences working in a critical access hospital, different benefits, different challenges? What is the difference?
I really don’t think there’s a whole lot of difference are the responsibilities of basically the same the might have, of course, the size of the facility and, you know, the demands on the workforce and a different certainly with, you know, the amount of foot traffic and the amount of patients that we take care of. So other than that, I don’t see a whole lot of difference. Because, again, on the financial side, we because we are part of a larger health system, we have, you know, a significant capital, infrastructure and system in place, and we get our fair share. So, yeah, I don’t see a whole lot of difference in that regard.
Yeah, I was gonna ask you about the, you know, the funding part of it relative to your capital. Is sounds like you’re in a relatively I mean, for these days in a relatively good space? Yes. To funding and available capital, and you’re able to keep up?
Yeah, well, going from almost none to having, you know, some is, is a big improvement. So that’s been a really big benefit to us and allowed us to, to upgrade a lot of our major equipment, chillers, boilers, air handlers, you know, at St. Anne, in particular, we had our switchgear was in horrible condition, and a lot of all electrical components were makeshift, and moved away from the motor control panel and had multiple disconnects at various motors no VFDs in the in the building whatsoever. So since that time, we’ve been able to upgrade most of the major equipment here at St. Anne, and make some improvements, you know, and we were, you know, endeavoring to get to some some energy efficiency as well, which, you know, at one time, that wasn’t even a part of the equation. So that I mean, it’s been a really big benefit to us.
Yeah, yeah. No, it sounds like it’s been quite the change for you. Do you have relative to finding employees keeping employees? Did you keep most of your facility? And have you kept most of your facility employees through the years? Do you have challenges or you’re attracting to rural areas? Like, what’s the workforce availability labs?
That is not only here, I guess, in a sense, in healthcare in general, yes. It’s been a challenge. And I believe that was part of our previous communicate conversations, regarding staffing, and we see in, you know, an aging population amongst our guys here, I’ve had recently had a guy who retired with 28 years, another guy like to, to leave with 27 years. So, you know, replacing those people are really, really difficult. Yeah, hiring young people seems to be the challenge. We’ve we’ve posted several positions, you know, openings, and the people that are actually seeking jobs in healthcare are older guys, maybe guys who are already establishing their, their finances, and, you know, just looking for something to hold them over until they get to retirement age, which is not a bad thing. But when it comes to secession, you know, that’s difficult, especially and, and the way we feel in our in healthcare. It’s, you can come in with a set of skills, that yeah, maybe you can do plumbing, and you can do some electrical, and you can do some, you know, refrigeration work, but actually coming in and learning how to operate with those skills in a healthcare environment is always a challenge. And in my opinion, I think two years of minimum as far as you know, autonomy to get someone ready to actually be acclimated to the building and environment and being able to operate independently. And one thing that separates us here at at St. Anne as a critical access hospital is the staffing here or not 24/7. So we we do call, you know, we have a man on call to have coverage. And so we have one guy on a weekend work works the weekend maintains a 40 hour shifts, so he has to take a day off the week prior to the payroll pay period and a week, a day off the week out. So that presents some challenges as well, trying to maintain adequate staffing on at the time. So with all that being said When a guy’s here by himself, he needs to be familiar with, you know, pretty much a little bit of everything that’s in, in, in, in the hospital in the facility, and you know, on campus because he’s the only guy. He’s the only guy everybody’s calling on. If something goes wrong, of course, we, you know, we provide backup, you know, my phone is on 24/7 365. And you know if there’s a need on on here, but to get someone at that position and be ready to respond to that call is difficult, and it takes, you know, it takes time. So I recently hired a young guy. He’s in his in his early 30s. And he has some experience, not hospital experience. And so we’d bring him up right now. And he does do some work independently. But we also bringing him along, when there’s something that, you know, we feel he needs to know. And, you know, in a time when he may be blind, so, so we tried to actually mentor him. While he’s, you know, here actually being productive. Yeah, you know, is a benefit.
You had mentioned that you feel it takes like two years for them to get acclimated. And is that’s part of the reason that it takes that two years. I mean, just because you, you’re on there alone.
Right, right. Yeah. And, you know, it’s not only knowing what to do you know, where to go when someone calls, hey, you know, this, this tall is acting up, and then you know, he needs to know where to go and find find that area or, or maybe a breaker and strip, well, which panel? How do I find where to panel that? Yeah, accessing the blueprints and accessing those things that? Yes, that’s stuff that needs to be learned with boots on the ground. And and this takes time. You don’t find those people on the streets?
No. Well, I was gonna ask you, especially with the you’re the younger person you just hired as soon as later 30s. Were there any selling points to where they’re selling points that you you use to get him to come over to the hospital side? What what attracted them? Do you know?
Well, he was looking for a more stable employment. Yeah, we have a very lucrative benefit package, which has a really good GPT where, you know, paid time off? And that’s really a big positive for him. Yeah, you know, with a family. So I think that was one of the things that really attracted him. Of course, not the salary, because salary in healthcare is not no, we keep up with, you know, the industry that’s around here, as a lot of chemical plants and oil field which pay, you know, really, really well. Of course, you know, the requirements, and, you know, what the, they ask of us probably goes a lot along with that salary as well. But that’s one of the challenges here, you know, because we can’t afford to have, you know, put those big salaries out there. And we have to use other means. And that’s pretty much what I guess attracts the people that are here. And once they hear they realize, you know, that it is a good job, it is a stable job. And the environments, you know, good place you most of the time, you’re indoors out of the elements. And that’s a big plus in South Louisiana, because we’ve been having 100 degree temps was was 90 Plus unit, percent humidity in those days, it’s not easy to work out there. So that’s, that’s another big benefit in our environment.
Yeah, yeah. You know, I mean, you hit on so many things there that are that are what needs to be done to because you’re right. I mean, health care. And I never thought about this before in speaking with you, you must have some big competition to get some of those trades, guys with just your location, you’re close to the Gulf and you can’t so it’s good, the competition must be intense. But that generally, you’re looking for somebody who maybe has a family, they want a little more stability, and they want to work with a roof over their head and they’re out there. They’re just, they’re hard to find and a lot of time it’s just comes down to timing as well.
Absolutely. We put heads together to try to figure out how to attract younger people into the system and that sort of training say that auctioneer has recently gotten bored with at some of the local trade schools and country colleges here. Yeah, he’s mostly in New Orleans area right now and hopefully we could branch that entire area. But you know, we went to a local trade school here that was a career day and and we said Get up a table and, and I was running a little late. And when I got there and my supervisor was already there, he says, Let me tell you, he says, we’re gonna have a tough a tough day supporting me. He says, Well, I went talk to all the other tables here. And they just about offering double what we offering on a entry level salary. It’s like, man, that’s tough, especially for a young person coming out of school looking for, you know, to make, you know, big bucks and, you know, get the fancy toys that they desire, you know, so it is a big challenge to get younger people here. And yeah, I’m looking for I’m looking for guys in their 40s to meet us. Yeah, hey, guys, you know, we have, we have quite a bit of people in our area that, you know, we’re at chemical plants and retired, you know, early. And so a lot of those people are looking for jobs, you know, that can sustain him, you know, throughout. And we’ve had one guy here recently retired, he turned 66, and went on retirement. And he’s, he was here for five years. So he came in, out of the fabrication yard, worked for a company for a number of years, and just looking for a place closer to home where he can, you know, settle in and work for the next five, six years. And that’s what he did. And he was, he was very productive and a very well respected member of the team. And you sorely missed, ya know, that’s, again, that’s the kind of people you know, we look for, and like, you know, to see people in their 30s or 40s, that were, you know, they can spend a couple of years and getting really ingrained in the operation and really be productive and take the lead. And looking for someone to actually be my successor, it remains to be a challenge. Yeah, I’ve got several really, really talented people on my crews, at both hospitals at all three hospitals here. In fact, I know all the guys at the other one as well. And it’s just really difficult to have someone that, you know, knows the mechanical side, and you know, how to operate within a healthcare facility, but then at the same time, is willing to put up with the, you know, the challenges of being in leadership. And so, finding that person, that is a real challenge.
Yeah, I’m sure there’s some people who look at what you do and say, God bless you. But I don’t want to do that. I don’t tell that other stuff that comes with it. Right, you get the mechanical part. But then as you just suggested, your phone’s on all the time. And you’re dealing with everybody across that organization. Yes, exactly. I know that when we, when we spoke last year, I know you’re going to one of your one of your goals was that succession planning. So it sounds like you’re still trying to trying to work through that does the organization did they sub not support, but did they formalize anything like across their organization relative to succession planning,
I wouldn’t say really formalized anything, but there is that is a topic of conversation amongst not only the leaders in the other facilities in the army, within the organization, but it’s we have, we have a really good educational program within, you know, optional health, as far as continuing education within the system. So if there’s an individual shows some, you know, some interest in that we can direct them into some leadership classes. And so the opportunity is there. We, we do have a couple of guys in our area, that are lead techs that possibly would be, you know, candidates to get, you know, move up to the next level and leadership just remains to be a challenge. And I would like to see, I mean, I’m 62 years old, and I would like to, you know, someday be able to retire, you know, 6566, something like that. So, five, six years, seven years, maybe. I’d like to see someone that I can mentor and have them prepared to to be in this, you know, in this this role and actually be productive. And my model was when I took over leadership, I took over and leadership in 2013. And my my motto, and I pretty much stick by this is that I want to leave this place better than I found it. And so we try to help everyone move up and we got a great group With the guys here who’ve been willing to mentor, everyone that’s that comes in the door. And we’ve been able to do that. And so now we actually have a program where we are rotating staff between the hospitals to try to help them learn the other facilities as well. So that seems to be working. I’d like to see it progress a little more. As we get a few more people on staff where we can we have the ability to let a guy go, you know, a day or two a week, where he can learn another facility and operates where it wouldn’t be a total shock. If you know, St. Man, now we need to, we need you to go next door and do your thing. And so that’s where we work in at right now to work with the staff, we have to kind of get them regionalised. Because we do have we do have, you know, some staffing already. That is regionalised not in the facility department, but in so many other clinical departments. So we work into that we not there yet. But that’s that’s what we’re working on right now.
So imagine that your staff must be are you you’re not? Are you a union shop? No, you must not be Yeah. Because that’s, you know, sometimes that’s everybody forms the systems. But sometimes you have a union shop and a non union shop, and you’re part of that system. And you can’t get any of the efficiencies out of that, because you’re not going between hospitals, right? Was it within that program? John? Are his staff willing to try? Did they like that? Or do they prefer to kind of stay in their hospital? What’s been the reception from a staff perspective to that program?
It depends. It’s a mixed reception, it depends on the individual. There’s some individuals that may not have adequate transportation, to travel a longer distance, perhaps or, you know, but for the most part, I think the guys that are doing it are excited about it. And I have interest from a couple of other guys that are willing to do it, they just haven’t gotten to do it yet. So we work in there. No, in our, in our area here, and the three hospitals that we are in, we’re not in a metropolitan area. So we don’t have, we don’t particularly have to have individual crafts are a specialist, we don’t have to have a licensed plumber, or we don’t have to have a licensed electrician, we don’t have to have, you know, a licensed AC guy. So we kind of do Multicraft and we train that way to be able to handle you know, each and every, whatever may come up, but we do use some, you know, it depends on what it is. And if we get into high voltage electricity, then we definitely you know, we’re not doing that we consulting with a contract or a vendor. And we have a great list of vendors and a group of guys who respond well. And so we treat them good. And they treat us good. And it makes for a good relationship when we need them. They’re here.
Yeah, yeah. What’s your distance between your hospitals?
Ah, one of them is about 15 or so miles. The other one is about 30 miles.
Okay. When you do the, when you have your trays, guys at different hospitals, do they spend a day? Do you keep them there for a day or two? So they go there in the morning? And that’s where they’re working out of?
Yes, yes, we will send them over to one of the sister hospitals to just to get in and, you know, tag along with one of the guys and try to learn a facility learn it. Because I don’t know, if you I’m sure you’ve heard this before is different nuances at each facility. And every facility even though we try to make things the same, they still different and read a little differently. And so that’s, that’s been a bit of a challenge, but it’s getting better.
I use I mean, I say this, quote frequently on our shows, because I do get tired of hearing myself say it, but you say it because it’s accurate. We were working for with the University of Nebraska health system, and the Chancellor said this quote, and it’s very true. He said, If you’ve seen one hospital, then you’ve seen one hospital. And that’s, that’s what you’re alluding to. I mean, you got different people. It’s just, you do the same things, but it’s completely, you know, it’s just different.
Right? Just different. Yeah, you know, we’ve got this little saying with the guys, you know, you can take a nurse and you can put her at hospital away or you can put them in a hospital B or hospital C and they can do their job. Can’t do that with maintenance. Yeah, you can’t get a maintenance guy to walk in the building and say, okay, here, go fix this. And he’s totally Last, you know that that that means a lot and says a lot to the fact that, you know, you need to have boots on the ground for a while before you can actually be really productive. If I, you know, if I get a guy over here, and he’s got a set of skills, and I’ll bring him on, on on site and said, okay, here, fix this, this unit, and he can fix it. And that’s, that’s productive. But to put him out independently to operate on his own, take a work order out of the TMS system and go fix it and come back and complete the work. Alright. That’s, that’s pretty much pretty rare. Yeah,
yeah. No, it does take time, have you since you’ve started to this program where you’re, you know, sharing the resources, different hospitals, have you? Have you seen anything come out of this that has surprised you, you know, that you weren’t expecting?
Oh, yeah, I’ve actually learned a lot. Because I do it, you know, as well. And I’ve been, you know, at one of the hospitals for about three years, and in that audit change that, and so, very recently gotten introduced to the other hospital, in our system and the body region. And so, you know, the equipment, the operating system, the people, you know, the way they do things, and it’s the culture, I mean, even the culture is a bit different at each hospital. And when I say culture, I mean, in between the, you know, the guys in the mindset in the, in the, in the maintenance sort of facility. So, that’s, that’s, that’s been a surprise. But it’s been a it’s been good, because it’s allowed me to grow as well and learn, and you know, how to do some compromising, but we, it’s been fun, it’s been actually exhilarating, it is overwhelming at times. But I guess, I guess I’m sorry, I have the landing gear down, you know, to the end of my career and, and looking at, you know, this cool sin, but a shot and arm of, you know, it’s sometimes can be exhilarating, you know, to get these problems and be able to solve a problem that, you know, has been there for for quite a while, and putting the right people on the spot. And that was a big learning curve. Last week, when we had an issue and electrical issue that at the, at our other hospital, that’s been around for a while, and just knowing the guy to call to solve that problem was a big plus. I think that was a learning experience for all of us. And we, you know, had an after action meeting and, and just pointed out to the gods, you see how important it is to know who to call, you know, for what, and I think that is a big plus, because I could have called any number of vendors that would have responded, and probably not had, as well of a positive result. But just that’s part of the learning process, as well.
It’s you mentioned that, you know, is the, as you go on as people become kind of more disconnected from each other only because you’ve even if you just take COVID, you know, the opportunities to disconnect, you have lots of opportunities to disconnect and drift apart yet, you know, relationships, especially in facilities management are in the face to face are still so critical to, you know, to achieve success. Have you found, is it more difficult to keep the face to face to keep that connectedness, is it more difficult to do that these days with kind of the overall demands that are on you? Or they aren’t anybody you know, is it you’ve got so much to do, and get done? And everybody wants it done yesterday, not tomorrow. But yet your role is also keeping those personal interactions is so key. Is that more difficult to do now than it used to be?
I guess, I guess in a sense, it could be. But it depends on if you make that a priority. And I say that because the demands on my time. Definitely got greater, yeah, over the years with compliance and you know, those things getting more more demanding. But if it’s a priority to you, as far as creating an environment where you actually care, and I tell my guys this all the time, that’s probably my biggest fault is I care too much. I get attached to my people. I love my people. You know a tree he’d been like family, and try to be respectful at all times. And I tried to sue that into them, and let them know that some benefit that we work together, we try to help each other get better. Yeah, you know, I agree, I don’t have to make myself look good, I need to make my people look good. And indirectly, I’ll look good. So and that’s, that’s worked for me. And that’s, you know, the way I treat my people. You know, we worked for a guy who was an information hoarder. And so when I stepped into this role, I was green as grass. And, you know, it was unfortunate. And I really do not want to do that to anyone else, you know, coming behind me. So that’s, that’s been my cry to administration and my supervisors for the last five plus years. So we need to get some people in here that we can train, so that when I’m ready to leave, you know, I’m not handing him the same basket that was handed me. Yeah, here. Good luck. And that’s basically what was told to me. So, we worked hard at trying to create a culture of togetherness, and it’s good for engagement. I’ve always had high engagement scores, and I’ve got guys who have been over backwards to try to make things happen, you know. So it really creates an environment where we can function together and make us look forward to coming to work.
You know, I just, I just put my glasses on to look at the time I didn’t realize that we’re coming up towards the end. Can I ask you two really quick questions. So number one, the information Horford? Did you try it? Did you attempt like before you were in this role? You know, when you were reporting to this person? Did you try to get in that circle? Did you try to push him to sit you say, hey, I need to know this? And I need to know that? Did you attempt to get kind of inside that circle? And it just didn’t work? You weren’t allowed in?
Not so much, because I really didn’t. I really didn’t desire to be in the supervisors role. Okay, that was never really my intent. I got nudged into it. And didn’t really think that I was cut out to be in leadership. Wow. Just being transparent. Yeah. But, you know, once I stepped into the role, and even though it was overwhelming for quite a while, it turned out to be the right thing. And it really has been a very positive move for me and allow me to use my talents. Yeah. And a lot greater capacity. And the way, you know, coaching people all the time, do not hoard information, because you’re not only hurting others, you’re hurting yourself.
Yeah. I was gonna say that been, you know, listening to you talk. And it sounds like you’ve, you’re a natural, obviously you work at it, but that you’ve been doing it and that I’m surprised to hear you say, so you didn’t want to do did you have to get coaxed into it? Or did you? They kind of said, Hey, you want to do it? And you thought about it and say you know, I’ll do it.
That’s kind of fun, funny chain of events. I went to a conference, where it was a learning environment and care Joint Commission conference, off site. And I wrote with my supervisor, and he broke the news to me that he would be retiring. And, you know, he was he was thinking that I would be the one to take his place. And I was like, you know, this was shocking to me. And so shortly after that, the CEO at the time, called me into his office and broke the news that he, you know, he wanted me to step up. And of course, I was the younger guy on the team. And the guys, you know, I was definitely not the one with the seniority. And so I knew that with losing some challenges. So I agreed to do it. And it did. I did have some some pushback from my fellow employees at the time. But after about a week or so, you know, some some very, really deep conversations. And once they found out that, you know, my intent was to make things better and different and not continue in the same fashion that we had, you know, experience for a number of years. And they were excited and they got on board and it’s been it’s been wonderful. Very supportive.
So, final question for John Babin, John’s Director of Facilities Management for national health failure region down in Louisiana. One of the reasons we I want to talk and that you reached out was just talking about critical access hospitals. Is there anything that we didn’t cover or anything you think is important for somebody who’s maybe thinking about critical access? You know, do they want to take there anything you think is anything we didn’t touch on or anything you think is beneficial for folks to know about? You’re directing in a critical access hospital?
Not so much because I don’t think I think maybe at one time, there may have been a big separation, but not have we a part of a bigger system that is really not that evident anymore. But, you know, thinking back to when we first became critical access hospital it, it actually was a sense of pride to us, because we were a community hospital, and we didn’t have a really great reputation. So having, you know, having that designation and knowing that, hey, you know, we would be here and really hard times regardless. And, you know, coming from the CEO at the time, who had pushed really hard to get that designation, it was it was celebrated. And it was, it was, it was quite an achievement for a small community. And, you know, it’s really been a blessing for us. And I don’t know that it’s a big difference as far as you know, the actual work that we do. So I wouldn’t say that when I said, you know, if a person’s here and and not afraid to get their hands dirty, hey.
Well, you know, and I love that answer, because it showed, you know, you touched on kind of the pride and the passion that people feel people who like health care, that’s what you feel. And that’s part of you, as you said, you can’t compete on salary, but you can certainly compete on mission and the pride you take of being the pillar of our community when the hurricane when Hurricane Ida adds. Yeah,
so yeah, one more thing that was one of my goals, when I took over was to improve the perception of the maintenance, guys, because we were kind of considered low class, and I’m sure that you’re still an element of that in places. But when you reach out to the clinical people in the hospital, you know, the other departments, and you let them know that, you know, you willing to work with them and be supportive, and, you know, being open communication, I think that has been really positive and has served us well. And I think it’ll continue to serve us well in the future. But we did we, you know, we got uniforms, you know, we had the guys knew step up and communication, actually instituted the aid program with my guys. Way prior to when officer took over. So that was a big plus. And so that, you know, there’s some things that we did that helped us.
Okay, I just, I know, we gotta go, but you brought up the aid program, was that a difficult? Was that difficult for your facilities, folks to, to use the aid program, because again, it kind of stretches you outside of your comfort zone? How long it did, was that an easy implementation? Or did you have some people that were kinda
but that was relatively easy for us. Because in the Cajun culture and South Louisiana, we were very outspoken community. And again, we were, you know, pretty much knew everyone that was in the hospital. So, you know, we, we treated people like family, and I think, you know, just having a, not so much a set script, but just just a kind of a platform is, hey, you know, before you walk in a room, you do this, when you get in a room, identify yourself, you know, just common courtesy. And it was very well received from my guys. And I think that contributed to increasing our level of pride amongst ourselves. And I think that was so extremely important. Yeah,